It gets cold at night for Israeli soldiers on patrol in or in their bases, and the clothing issued by the IDF sometimes does not ward off the nighttime chill. Enter the Orthodox Union.
Yashar Lachayal (meaning Direct to the Soldier), an Israeli organization which focuses on the day-to-day needs of IDF forces, learned that soldiers at the Nachal Charedi base near Jenin in the hilly north of Israel, were cold at night and needed fleece jackets. Yashar, which gives 100 percent of its donations for needed equipment and supplies to members of the IDF, with expenses being assumed by a benefactor, knew where to turn.
Leon Blankrot a representative of Yashar, contacted Howard Rhine, an OU lay leader who is deeply devoted to the safety of the members of the Israel Defense Forces. Some years ago, Mr. Rhine founded the OU’s Tefillah L’Chayalei Tzahal campaign to distribute tefillah or prayer cards which include a photo of soldiers at the Kotel in Jerusalem on one side and the Prayer for the Israel Defense Forces on the other. The intention is for individuals or groups to recite the prayer every day with the well-being of the soldiers in mind. As of this date, $105,000 has been raised by sale of these cards and posters, with Mr. Rhine encouraging everyone, particularly in schools and synagogues, to recite the prayer daily. The funds are used to deal with the needs of members of the IDF on bases throughout Israel.
On this latest project, Mr. Rhine contacted OU President Stephen J. Savitsky who gave approval to use the OU’s IDF Fund to purchase and ship 200 of the fleece jackets to the soldiers, who also received the tefilla cards. Their reaction can be seen in the photo below.
IDF soldiers face constant danger while defending Israel. At the Nachal Charedi base, at least, they are warm while doing so.